Black Eyed Susans Abound

Well the ladies have arrived in Hagerstown, orientation has been had, gifts have been exchanged, roommates have checked in and wardrobes have been completed. This past Sunday, 22 women checked in to either the Mu or Delta group to begin their quest to be crowned Miss Maryland America this Saturday. Also joining the week long festivities were 24 beautiful teens, one of which will advance to represent the Old Line State in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant this summer.

 Miss Maryland America 2009, Brooke Poklemba

Getting to this point was no small feat for these wonderful scholars and they should all be commended. To be eligible to participate in the state pageant, one must first win a local pageant. These are held all throughout the state and are extremely competitive. Ironically, some “local’s” {names of these contests can provoke a smile or two} really aren’t local at all, but they are designed to give more women the chance to compete. Some Miss MD local titles this year included: Miss Appalachia, Miss Charm of Chesapeake, Miss Queen of Tolerance and Miss Unity.

The state pageant consists of two evenings of preliminary competition with a break on Friday evening for the MD – MAO Teen competition. The preliminaries include the two groups, Mu & Delta, competing in the various areas. Delta Group competes in Talent and On-Stage Question on Wednesday evening and Evening / Evening Wear as well as Swimsuit on Thursday Evening. Mu Group, goes in the reverse competing in Evening Wear and Swimsuit on Wednesday, following up with Talent and On Stage Question on Thursday Evening.  It will resume on Saturday evening with the finals, including the presentation of the top 10 and ultimately the new Miss Maryland America 2011.

It’s been almost 8 years, since Miss Maryland has hit big at the national pageant, but with the looks of this year’s contestants – MD could once again make it to the top 10.   In 2003, Marina Harrison, who began her reign as Miss Burtonsville, was the final night Casual Wear winner at Miss America and placed 3rd runner-up to Miss America 2004, Ericka Dunlap (Florida).

Marina Harrison wins Miss Maryland America 2003

Although the MAO Teen program is not as popular as Miss America, just yet – perhaps due to the fact that it isn’t televised. It’s notable to mention they’ve distributed more than $300,000 in scholarships since the pageants inception in 2005.

  DC’s Outstanding Teen 2009, MD’s Outstanding Teen 2009 and Miss Maryland 2009

The national pageant is held in August in Orlando, Florida and will be hosted this year by American Idol Runner-Up Justin Guarini!   Miss Maryland’s Outstanding Teen is in for a treat!

No matter the outcome, all the ladies will enjoy the experience of a lifetime, make new friends, walk away with a new spirit of confidence and have memories like no other to pass on.  And if they don’t, there’s always next year {for some}


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